The video for J-Will’s single, ‘Institutionalized’ is a stirring essay in black and white, facing square on the injustice in the world, and, quite powerfully, the institutionalized racism of the police force in the United States. Directed by Moon Man, we see the artist move around his adopted city of Los Angeles, taking in everything that goes on around him, and keeping up a running commentary about it.
Neo-soul artist and rapper J-Will grew up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas, and learned very early on how to turn tragedy into art that inspired both himself and others. From a young age he learned how to write poetry, and he wrote down his ideas about family and community crises as a means by which to cope with them.
This form of expression has stood him in good stead, and since his relocation to Los Angeles, he’s put it too good use, as he takes in everything that goes on in the streets of the city around him. It’s not just his poetry that he falls back on however; J-Will has found faith and solace in his church and the community of artists, and he gives back to them by way of his music and performances. There’s payback in this as well: J-Will’s recent releases have seen much acclaim, and garnered him a coveted performance slot outside the BET Awards, due to take place at the end of this month.
‘Institutionalized’ is an early single from J-Will, but its message is still as relevant, and the music video from Moon Man is as striking as it is stirring. With a beat crafted by Venuz Beats, we see J-Will as he reflects about social justice, religion, and inequality, walking about the streets of Los Angeles, and looking down on it from the rooftops of Downtown. He notes a sequence of injustices around the world, and names several of those who have been victims of police brutality. He turns it around though with the catchy chorus,
Don’t turn your back
Let Your light shine
You are favored in this lifetime
The video for ‘Institutionalized’ is moving and very stirring, with its crisp black and white imagery, starting with the waving US flag in the very first scene, and moving onto clips of Black Lives Matter protesters facing off against a phalanx of police, who are striking their batons against their shields. One person stands out most of all, a young woman whose face is filled with confident defiance – she knows the words that J-Will sings – “you are favored in this lifetime” – she certainly won’t turn her back, and she lets her light shine.
Watch the music video for ‘Institutionalized’ below, and follow J-Will online on Instagram.